Public Opinion on Coronavirus: Navigator Daily

Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments. 

This is a dynamic time, and as a result, Navigator will transition to a daily tracking poll on the coronavirus crisis. For the foreseeable future, we will be tracking public opinion every weekday, releasing on a Tuesday-Saturday schedule. In addition, future editions will provide more messaging guidance to the progressive community. 

This edition of our daily tracking release features findings from a national online survey of 1,015 registered voters conducted April 10-April 15, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • For the third day in a row, Trump’s approval rating on handling the coronavirus pandemic is underwater.
  • The Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the World Health Organization are most trusted to tell the truth about the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Trump’s downplaying of the threat, early inaction, and his temperament during the crisis continue to raise concerns.

Trump Coronavirus Rating Remains Underwater

For the third day in a row, Trump’s approval rating on handling the coronavirus pandemic is net negative.

  • While 47% of Americans approve of his handling, 12% say they approve because it is important to be supportive of the president during a time of crisis.
  • Among independents, Trump is at -12 (37% approve/49% disapprove).

World Health Organization More Trusted Than Trump

This week, President Trump announced he is halting World Health Organization funding. However, Americans trust the World Health Organization by 38 points (64% trust/26% distrust), while they distrust Trump by 8 points (44% trust/52% distrust).

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci retains high levels of trust at 69%, including 65% among Republicans and 70% among 2016 Trump voters.

Trump Downplaying the Threat is Dominant Concern

Trump’s downplaying of the crisis and his early inaction have consistently raised the most concerns in our tracking. To hone in on this, we added a new forced-choice question asking respondents to pick which concerned them most about Trump’s early handling.

“Blaming Others” Tops Trump Temperament Concerns

Concerns about Trump’s temperament have also consistently tracked close to each other, so we added a new follow-up question digging into Trump’s behavior, finding that passing off blame is a slightly higher concern than others tested.

Trump’s China Travel Ban: Too Little, Too Late

The majority of Americans found the ineffectiveness of Trump’s China travel ban to be the most effective response to Trump when he redirects blame for the crisis to China.

Downplaying Threat & Lack of PPE Most Concerning

Trump downplaying the threat when he should have been preparing and his announcement that national stockpiles of medical equipment are empty raise serious concerns for Americans.

  • Among those “mixed on Trump,” his firing of the inspector general (76%) also raises serious concerns.